It has been one solid month since that beautiful moment when I held Mark in my arms for the first time. One blurry, sleep-deprived, wonderful month! Life with a newborn is even more exhausting and unpredictable than people dare admit to a pregnant mommy-to-be. Every poop-filled moment is worth it though. And believe me, there has been a lot of poop.
The learning curve is steep, and I still run to the side of his bassinet every time he makes a strange noise at night – and babies make a lot of strange noises. However, we are slowly falling into a loose routine and adjusting to the new normal in our household. Mark is growing quickly (gaining about a pound a week lately!) and is constantly changing. The sleepy baby that we brought home at the beginning of October is now quite alert and slowly distinguishing his days from his nights.
Since I already have a daughter in heaven, I find that I am probably even more paranoid than the average parent of a newborn. I also find my mind drifting to Isabelle as Mark reaches small milestones. In the months and years to come, I imagine that won’t change. Right now, my two children look about the same age in the pictures on the wall, but very soon, it will become more apparent that Isabelle will forever be a newborn while her brother grows and changes. That is a tough reality for a parent to swallow.
Interestingly, Halloween was the first “holiday” I experienced after Isabelle passed away, and it was also the first “holiday” that we had with Mark. Like last year, I found myself in Wal-Mart picking up a few random things right around Halloween. (In fact, it was the first time I left the house without Mark since he was born). This time, walking by the costumes was a bit less challenging. In a stark contrast to last year, as all my friends posted adorable pictures of children dressed as superheroes and princesses, I did not want to throw my computer across the room in frustration. Our Halloween was pleasant and filled with fun-filled pumpkin carving, a cute little pumpkin costume, way too much candy, and many wonderful memories.
Despite a much more positive Halloween this year, thoughts of Isabelle regularly drifted in my mind. The next day, All Saint’s Day, we attended Mark’s first Mass at our home parish. As Matt held up Mark to introduce him to our church community at the end of Mass, I had a distinct feeling that our little saint in heaven was proud of her brother and praying for her family with all the other saints up there. What an appropriate day to bring Mark to our church for the first time.
Yesterday’s celebration of Mark’s one month with us has been a great reminder to appreciate each and every blurry-eyed, exhausting moment that we are given with our children. As I have learned this past year, we are not guaranteed any number of days with them, so it is important to be the best parent possible in each moment. I am finding that it takes a lot of patience and prayer, but am so incredibly thankful for each moment that we have been given with our sweet Mark.